Bihar Social Welfare Minister Manju Verma resigned on Wednesday after the name of her husband cropped up in the case of sexual abuse of minor girls at the shelter home in Muzaffarpur.
Verma met Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and handed over her resignation to him, sources in the Chief Minister's Office said here.
The Opposition had been continuously gunning for her head following allegations by the wife of an arrested accused from the department that Verma's husband was a frequent visitor to the Muzaffarpur shelter home, where 34 girls were allegedly raped over a period of time.
Speaking to News18, Manju Verma said, "The high court-monitored investigation is on, and I have faith in the CBI. I will come out clean and I have not resigned due to political pressure." It is a conspiracy by the Opposition against me, Nitish Kumar has not told me anything, and it’s (resignation) my own decision. I want Brajesh Thakur’s call detail record to be made public."
Verma blamed the media and the Opposition for her resignation. "I resigned because media and opposition had created a furore," ANI quoted her saying.
What appears to have precipitated her quitting are the media reports that examination of mobile phone details of key accused Brajesh Thakur showed that he had spoken to her husband 17 times from January to June this year. Speaking to the media from a prison van in the court compound at Muzaffarpur, Thakur earlier this week admitted that he used to speak to the minister's husband, Chandeshwar Verma, but it was "on political issues".
Verma had been defending herself by maintaining that her husband had visited the shelter home only once and that too in her presence. She had also said that she was being targeted because she belonged to the Kushwaha caste, an OBC group.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Monday called the Muzaffarpur incident "condemnable" and said that the Central Bureau of Investigation is conducting an inquiry into the case. He added that the state government acted on information received from TISS but had no knowledge prior to that.
Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi on Monday had asserted that there was no need for the resignation of Social Welfare Minister Manju Verma or any other minister in the aftermath of the Muzaffarpur shelter home scandal "just because some people are giving statements".
However, he said that if Verma is found involved or if anything is found against her in connection with the shelter home sex scandal, she may be asked "to go".
An MLA from Cheria-Bariarpur constituency in Begusarai district since 2010, Verma was the minister in the NDA government headed by Nitish Kumar from JD(U) quota. No action against the minister in the wake of the shelter home horror episode had been bringing a bad name for the chief minister as well his government across the country.
A shelter home in Bihar's Muzaffarpur is at the centre of an alleged sex scandal where the victims are minor inmates and one of the abusers is the owner of the non-government organisation (NGO) operating it.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Aug 08, 2018 18:24 PM